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What is an LPN?

Many nurses are Licensed Practical Nurses or LPNs. LPNs are very important in the healthcare industry. LPNs find work in more generalized areas of healthcare and you will usually find them working in clinics, doctor’s offices and nursing homes. An LPN works directly under the supervision of an RN, but usually oversees the nurse assistants. The LPN does a lot of the work, especially in nursing homes. They are generally the ones who give the injections, check on the patient’s progress and provide basic bedside care. The tasks that an LPN can handle vary by state and place of employment, but there are some states that allow an LPN to give IVs and help with patients on ventilators.

The training to become an LPN is rather short when compared to becoming an RN. You can usually find an LPN program at a local technical school and you can become an LPN in as little as nine months in some cases. Most programs take a year to complete, but there are some that are more accelerated for those who do not have to work full-time jobs or have family obligations outside of class. After you complete the training program, you will take the state licensing exam before you can begin work as an LPN.

LPNs generally work regular 40 hour weeks and, unlike RNs, hardly get any overtime. LPNs have varied schedules – you may work nights, days, weekends or a combination of them all. Generally speaking, most LPNs do have a set schedule as in they know they will work days or nights or weekends, but sometimes you may have a varied schedule with different times you have to work. This is especially true if you work in a nursing home.

Of course, many LPNs use their training in order to further their education and to become an RN. Many schools offer LPN to RN bridge programs. These programs are generally very flexible with your work schedule, offering classes during the day, at night and even on weekends so you can become an RN. The length of time it takes to complete the program varies depending on the program and how much time you can devote to continuing your education. Once you complete it and can take the RN licensing exam, you will find that starting out as an LPN helped you tremendously in preparing for your career as an RN.